I lost her last Friday.
We had been coworkers at first.
We were often on opposing sides of the fence.
What fence? You name it.
I was a male, she was not.
She was more vocal than I, usually.
She represented employees. And I represented our employer.
Even when we were in the same room we never sat together.
Always across from each other.
But we did work together. We often accomplished much.
She often called me seeking some assistance with this problem or that employee.
And she helped me too.
Once, when the administration changed and there was cause for concern that I might be let go, she wrote a letter of recommendation that I not be fired. How I was fair minded and all. She told me about after she submitted the letter.
It must have had some effect, I was retained while others were not.
We respected each other. Grudgingly at first, to be sure.
And after awhile we became friends.
I discovered I had lost her when I read about it on Facebook. It was her last post.
And I felt sadness.
While I’m happy to report she didn’t pass away, I did lose her nonetheless.
The post she wrote was that I had succumbed to pressure. I was no longer to be trusted. I was lying.
And she could no longer be friends with anyone like me.
The union she represents and our employer are at odds to say the least. In fairness, she has never seen an employer act or react in the manner we are now.
In my career as a negotiator I have often been at odds.
But it was never personal. Just business.
Each side employed strategies to get a resolution on their terms. It was understood.
She objected to my attempt to set the record straight.
My position was being interpreted inaccurately.
By her side.
So I corrected it. I wrote a letter to the editor.
And then I did a video answering questions from employees sent in to my agency.
She didn’t like the answers in either forum. She didn’t like me responding.
She took everything I had written or said personally.
And so she announced we were no longer friends.
As I mentioned, I felt sadness. Sadness because I thought we were better friends than we apparently were.
I understand she may be frightened of what may lies ahead. But the friendship, I thought, would last beyond the uncertainty.
I guess I was wrong.
After all is said and done, we’ll still have to work together.
My answers to the questions asked were factual. Not personal.
But, I am sorry I lost a friend.
I wrote a book about Reaching Resolutions.
It’s what I’ve done all these years. I negotiate contracts.
Rule #1 is the most important, followed by Rule #2.
Don’t take it Personally.
And #2? It follows #1.
DON”T TAKE IT PERSONALLY! (I do mean it)
You run the risk of losing perspective when you do.